Not I – Kazuo Ishiguro and the Politics of Misrecognition

‘Not I – Kazuo Ishiguro and the Politics of Misrecognition’ takes a closer look at how Ishiguro’s narrators deal with their metaphorical ‘parents’, their literary ancestors from Hamlet to Alfred Prufrock. Ishiguro’s narrators unwittingly express a metafictional concern about their existence in the shadows of English literary history and struggle with an imagined pressure to compete with iconic literary characters.

This book traces their narrative anxiety against a variety of other canonical intertexts by William Shakespeare, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and T. S. Eliot and takes a closer look at the narrators’ narrative strategy of repression. Like Walter Benjamin’s angel of history, they all would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed through the carefully falsified construction of their stories. These narrators are never fully in control of their own narratives and so they inadvertently betray their own struggle for recognition.